Australia is back on the radar for many UAE travellers after the country announced it will lift travel restrictions later this month.
Having been shut to most foreigners for nearly two years, Australia's move to welcome fully vaccinated tourists again from February 21 has been well received.
The news has led to a flurry of interest in the destination, which is home to some of the world’s best beaches and oldest cultures.
Data from online travel agency Skyscanner reveals that on the day Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the announcement on the easing of restrictions, flight bookings from the UAE to Australia jumped by 33 per cent compared with the day prior.
“The reopening of Australia’s border to international visitors is a huge milestone in the tourism industry and amazing news for those who have been dreaming about coming Down Under, whether for a holiday or to see loved ones," said Paul Whiteway, Skyscanner’s regional director for Asia Pacific.
Emirates airline has also noted a rise in travel demand to the country.
“The uptake to Australia from the UAE and across our network has been strong, driven by pent-up demand as well as the easing of restrictions, making it easier to travel,” a spokesperson for the Dubai airline told The National.
And travellers are not playing the waiting game when it comes to flying to Australia.
Despite borders only set to open for the last eight days of the month, February is the most popular time for travel to Australia from the UAE as people seek to reconnect with friends and family.
“It’s always exciting to see travellers returning to the people and places they love, and we expect to see travellers start planning their trips to enjoy the Australian culture and climate and reunite with family and friends as soon as possible,” said Whiteway.
Melbourne top choice for UAE travellers
Melbourne tops the charts for where in Australia people want to go, according to Skyscanner. The cosmopolitan city in Victoria is the most popular destination for UAE travellers booking flights on the platform, followed by Sydney and Brisbane on the country's east coast.
Emirates flies to four Australian airports, including its daily A380 flights to Melbourne and Sydney. It operates five weekly flights from Dubai to Brisbane and three weekly flights to Perth.
The airline expects to add additional flights to Sydney as travel demand ramps up.
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, also operates flights to Australia from Abu Dhabi, with services to Melbourne and Sydney. The airline is increasing flights to a daily service to both cities from March 27, meaning it will operate 14 weekly flights between Abu Dhabi and Australia.